The holidays are fast approaching, with Thanksgiving kicking off the season. Across Kitsap, families and friends will gather around a table to share a bite, but what many might not consider is the abundance of locally produce food, apt for adding a special touch to a holiday meal.
“We tend to feel like Thanksgiving is a holiday tradition for an end of the harvest, the end of the growing season,” said Dana Steege-Jackson of Around the Table Farm in Poulsbo.
“It’s a festival for the harvest that has come in, so it’s really a perfect time to have that connection with the local farms, to celebrate that harvest with the local farmers.”
Around the Table Farm specializes in varieties of potatoes, pumpkins and winter squash.
“We also do heirloom dry corn and corn meal for corn bread or corn bread stuffing,” Steege-Jackson said.
Around the Table is one of many farms at the Poulsbo Farmers Market, which continues through Dec. 23, a big day for the market as it is right before Christmas. But Nov. 23 is also a considerable pre-holiday market.
“We do promotions for eating local for Thanksgiving,” said Brian Simmons, Poulsbo Farmers Market manager.
“Lots of the crafters and food vendors who have taken the last few weeks off will come back for Nov. 23,” he said. “I would encourage folks to come out and talk to the farmers and plan along with what’s available. It’s not a grocery store, it’s a farmers market, so it’s seasonal.”
Heyday Farm on Bainbridge Island is another farm ready for the season, not only with their usual selection of fall vegetables, eggs, and root vegetables, but also with hogs.
“It’s all custom cut and wrapped,” Heyday farmer Alice Skipton said. “It comes in portion sizes. Some is smoked so you get bacon and hams.”
She added, “It’s about 70 pounds for a half, and you get a variety. It’s something you can use over the coming months, or whatever rate your family uses it.”
Heyday has pork available quarterly throughout the year, and generally in time for the holiday season. Much of the farm’s meat and produce is available at its storefront in Lynwood on Bainbridge Island, located at 4569 Lynwood Center Road NE.
“We have hams in our store, if you want to brine or cure them yourself. We have sausage at our store, too,” Skipton said. “And the squashes are awesome — we have hubbard, stellacutta and acorn.”
The farm did take orders for turkeys this year, but sold out fast. Heyday has also become well-known for its chickens and has plenty available for the season.
“We’ve got a lot of stew hens available now, they are super flavorful for soup,” Skipton said.
Skipton said Heyday will have roaster chickens for a little longer this season, but the farm will take a break from producing them in January and February.
Down the road, Tani Creek Farm has been raising a holiday treat for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“We’re selling geese this year, which is a very traditional European Christmas meal,” said Helmut Sassenfeld of Tani Creek Farm.
The farm currently has geese available for Thanksgiving.
“They are small geese, heritage breeds and all certified organic,” Sassenfeld said. “The ones at Christmas will be very large geese, but the ones I have now are smaller heritage breeds, suitable for four to six people.”
The farm also produces a variety of organic vegetables. Its products are available online at www.organicducksandgeese.com. The farm is also present at the Bainbridge Island Farmers Market.
The island’s winter market is Nov. 23 through Dec. 21 at the Eagle Harbor Congregational Church on the corner of Madison Avenue and Winslow Way.
Poulsbo’s Farmhouse Organics is ready for Thanksgiving with special farm boxes for $30. Each box contains a mix of seasonal produce for the holiday meal. The boxes go fast, so farmer Anne Weber encourages customers to email them to check for availability at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Our kids also have beeswax candles made from the wax from our 21 beehives in various sizes with a price range of $4 to $40,” Weber said. “They make great gifts.”
Then there’s Blackjack Valley Farms at the other end of the county. Blackjack has fresh pork such as ham, shoulder roasts, loins and more that will be ready by Christmas. The farm will also have limited large chickens that can be stuffed.
Abundantly Green Farm opens its farm stand each Tuesday from 2-7 p.m. to sell a variety of pork, chicken and produce.
“Some people like a sausage stuffing for their turkey or chicken,” Abundantly Green farmer Marilyn Holt said.
“Last year, a number of people took our whole chickens and stuffed them and made their Thanksgiving meal around a chicken rather than a turkey and that seemed to go well.
“We have lots of things one would cook for a holiday meal — potatoes, garlic, squash, pumpkins. Our pumpkins are pie pumpkins. All our produce is certified organic. It’s raised naturally, without pesticides and herbicides. And we don’t use any GMO seeds.”
Kitsap County boasts a growing number of farms, many which participate in local farmers markets. They serve as a valuable resource for putting together a hearty holiday meal that is uniquely Kitsap.
Gnomadic Roots mushrooms
Laughing Crow Farm garlic, potatoes, kale, brussels sprouts, onions and cabbage.